The Art of the Relaxed Fit
Forget a whisper, this feedback came in like a storm: unmistakable, undeniable, and unable to be ignored.
In our stores. In our comments. And very emphatically from our athletes.
We need a women’s relaxed fit kit.
Something that fits right and feels good. Gear you could count on for performance, of course, but also something you actually wanted to wear.
No more sizing up.
No more shopping the men’s line.
So, starting in 2020, we got to work. The results are in.
The new Sentinel Relaxed Jacket and Sentinel Relaxed Pant
We took our most popular women’s freeride styles, “the anchor of our women’s freeride collection,” as Senior Design Director Ashley Anson calls it, and put every little detail under the microscope. Adding ease through a straighter, more modern fit in the torso and removing all the more traditional hourglass shaping sounds simple when we type it out like this, but the actual process was a little more complicated.
We sketched, stitched and tested our ideas, measuring them against data insights from an industry-leading agency and real-life insights from our roster of athletes and ambassadors.
“We iterated on the Sentinel Relaxed Pant waistband for a really long time, especially since we’d also decided to offer this style in short, regular and tall lengths. We made prototype after prototype in both short and tall, and realized the waistband wasn’t sitting right. We finally got it on the fifth or sixth try,” says designer Megan Lloyd.
Once we felt we’d got it in our Design Centre, we sent a bunch of custom kits out with our athletes to let us know how the new relaxed kit felt where it really matters: on the mountain. “Michelle Parker has actually been wearing the new relaxed kit all season,” Megan adds.
“Before this, I was sizing up to get a fit that felt this unrestricted. Having a kit that fits right and feels really freeing makes me more comfortable, and when I’m more comfortable, I ski better.”
– Michelle Parker, Pro Skier
Part of a Bigger Picture at Arc’teryx
This new relaxed Sentinel kit is the latest expression of a new approach to women’s fit at Arc’teryx. Maybe you caught our deep dive into the fit of our women’s mountain running gear?
We’ve embarked on a multi-year project to re-imagine how our women’s gear fits and feels across every activity we design for.
“Working with women is so different because we’re also designing that intangible emotional experience of wearing something you identify with and that makes you feel good. A big part of this project was about offering something more that lets people express themselves through new silhouettes.”
– Brylee Gingras, Senior Designer
To bring the new relaxed-fit kit to life, our first step was partnering with Alvinon, one of the largest global agencies that brings together a sea of body data to inform the ‘fit blocks’ a brand uses to shape their size offering. Our in-house Fit team dove into that data, ultimately discovering that there were places (like the butt and thighs) where we knew we needed more room for the types of athletes and bodies we design for.
The Future of Fit
It’s clear that Ashley and Megan are passionate about their work, lighting up as they go back and forth on not just the new Sentinel styles, but how the range of performance-first options for her is expanding.
“We’re really excited to be offering the Sentinel Relaxed pieces. This is going to be a game-changer for us,” Ashley says.
“I’m excited to have options and fits that I want to wear,” Megan nods.
We just got a little glimpse into the future, and it looks like it’s going to feel relaxed and ready to ride.